almanac

almanac.jpeg

The Web itself is an eternally unfinished monument to inclusionism -- a text that aspires to be as big and involved as the world it describes. Gleick describes it as "a vast, interlocking set of databases growing asymptotically toward the ideal of All Previous Text." Information is, at root, about control, and the Web gives us more control than we've ever had -- but it also generates so much new information, so constantly, that it feels strangely like a lack of control. It defeats us, every single day; we could never even dream of reading everything on it. Hence the crisis. When our writing -- a tool we invented to tame the world's overwhelming abundance -- itself becomes an overwhelming abundance, it's a double crisis, a meta-crisis.

From 'An Accidental, Experimental Masterpiece' by Sam Anderson in the New York Times, about the (printed) 2011 World Almanac, and how,

Like the Web, the almanac aspires to be a total information delivery system -- the source of every datum you will ever need. Unlike the Web, however, the almanac aims for exhaustiveness within clearly defined limits. It has a front cover and a back cover. Compared with the Internet, it feels wonderfully contained and stable -- it is curated omniscience, portion-control Google. Much of its value comes from the empty spaces around its edges, the missing entries in its index, the silence that descends when you close it.

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